SPOTLIGHT Winter 2014

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sp tlight Grand Haven Area Public Schools by Keith Konarska, Superintendent T his month our community will say farewell to three long-standing Grand Haven Area Public Schools Board of Education members: Caralee Nietering, elected in 1998; Chris Houghtaling, elected in 2001; and Joanne Query elected in 2005. During their tenure they truly made school climate a priority through their support of a number of initiatives. They supported the introduction of the One-Page Strategic Plan concept that has reflected climate goals annually since its inception. They also supported moving forward with a number of key bond proposals for critical in - frastructure, technology, safety and expansion needs necessary for enhancing climate, which were also overwhelmingly supported by our community. Cara- lee, Chris and Joanne were involved in completing not one, by two extensive board policy revisions and updates, and supported district-wide climate efforts such as Capturing Kids' Hearts and all-staff diversity training. During their years of service, they supported budgets that sustained critical program needs despite unprecedented funding cuts; supported district reconfiguration to allow for all-day young fives and kindergarten, as well as the realignment of middle schools to a 5-6, 7-8 structure. Through all of these efforts, they supported relationship-building with our community, staff, business and municipal partners to assure the best for our students. To say that these individuals will be missed is such an understatement. Caralee, Chris and Joanne have continuously put kids first; acted in collaboration with other board members and stayed away from divisive personal agendas. They have always listened to constituents, and were mindful of both short-term and long-term goals necessary to maintain the premier district status that many third party evaluators have bestowed on our district. They always recognized the hard work of staff as well as parents and cherished every opportunity to engage with students. They took their own on-going training necessary to improve as board members very seriously, and modeled what it meant to be a life-long learner. From a leadership perspective, all three have held a number of board offices, participated in numerous committee and board meetings, as well as special events. Their visibility around our community and willingness to engage others was always very noticeable. Together they represent nearly 40 years of board service to this district and community, and will, without a doubt, be tremendously missed by parents, staff and students. We wish them all the very BEST! Farewell to Three School Climate Builders For the latest on Grand Haven Public Schools Subscribe to the Grand Haven Tribune 616-842-6400 or visit In Print, Online, Anytime!

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